New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 8 May 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Sentenced to Death in Iran for becoming a Christian and refusing to revert to Islam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India

 

India’s Foreign Minister tells Hillary, Pak army derailing peace process

BJP joins VHP to stop Muslim realty deals

Iran a key country for energy needs: External Affairs Minister

835 pilgrims from Uttarakhand to undertake Haj yatra

Miami University confers Doctorate on Oscar-winning Indian Muslim musician A.R. Rahman

Kolkata: Caught in 2 depts.’ indecision, madrasa runs without chief

Pakistan’s ISI trying to revive Babbar Khalsa for terror in Punjab: Indian Govt

J & K: Internal strife widens in the so-called moderate Hurriyat faction

 

Pakistan

 

Gilani's fate hangs in balance

Pakistani textbook says 9/11 happened last year!

No one could force me out of office: Pak PM Yousuf Raza Gilani

Peace, progress only options: Shahbaz Sharif

When I’m PM, will work to resolve Kashmir issue: Imran Khan

Top Pakistani police officer shot dead

India should take bold initiative to resolve Siachen dispute: Pak FM

4, including MQM activist, PAC member, killed in Karachi

Malik has fabricated ‘evidence’ against Nawaz: Rana Sanaullah

Pakistan militants vow holy war for Osama bin Laden

US bill prohibits aid to Pak till it cooperates on terror war

 

Africa

 

Libya PM brands Tripoli office attackers outlaws

Algeria debates chances of Islamists' rise in parliament

Are Islamists being scapegoated as the new ghoul of Egypt?

 

South Asia

 

Afghan army puts foreign boots on ground

US will remain committed to Afghanistan even after pullout: Hillary Clinton

AP-GfK Poll: Support for Afghan war at new low

Triple attacks kill 11 in Afghanistan

Former Maldivian President in campaign mode after revamping party

 

Southeast Asia

 

Russian passenger jet reported missing in Indonesia

 

Arab World

 

800 people embrace Islam

5 Die in Attack on Home of Iraq Government Worker

Fearful nights in Damascus as unrest gets closer

Rebels Kill Seven Pro-Assad Militiamen: Activists

Red Cross, UN appeal for Palestinian hunger strikers

Losing Faith With Protesters in Bahrain

'Last chance' to avoid civil war in Syria: Kofi Annan

Bomber in Qaeda plot was double agent: reports

Iran upgrades Palestinian Jihad Islami’s Gaza arsenal with coastal missiles

Israel: Iran Must Commit to Stop All Enrichment

 

North America

 

No negotiations with Qaida to free American: US government

All's not well? US envoy to Pakistan quits mid term

US hit foils an ‘updated’ underpants bomb plot

US disappointed with China over Al-Jazeera journalist's expulsion

Al-Qaeda bomb maker becomes America's worst nightmare

 

Europe

 

Islamic school in UK apologizes for anti-Jewish teachings on website

Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Iranian Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani sentenced to death

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/sentenced-to-death-in-iran-for-becoming-a-christian-and-refusing-to-revert-to-islam/d/7276

 

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Sentenced to Death in Iran for becoming a Christian and refusing to revert to Islam

8 May 2012

The Islamic Republic of Iran and its Revolutionary Court regularly demonstrates before the eyes of the whole world its brand of Sharia Law.

Protestant Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death in the Islamic Republic of Iran for the crime of apostasy. He was given a death sentence for becoming a Christian and refusing to convert back to Islam. He would not recant his faith! The character and courage of Christ is evident in the heroic witness of this Pastor. Now, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, the lawyer representing this good pastor, has been sentenced to nine years in jail.

GILAN, Iran (Catholic Online) - Last year we reported on the former Muslim, now Protestant Christian Pastor in Iran named Youcef Nadarkhani. He was sentenced to death in the Islamic Republic of Iran for the crime of apostasy.

He was given a death sentence for becoming a Christian and then refusing to convert back to Islam under intense pressure. He would not recant his faith! The character and courage of Christ is evident in the heroic witness of this Pastor.

When asked by the Islamic judges to repent, he stated: "Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?".To the religion of your ancestors, Islam," the judge replied. "I cannot," the Christian Pastor said.

Now, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, the lawyer representing this good pastor, has been sentenced to nine years in jail. He has also been banned from teaching at Universities and practicing law. He is a human rights activist practicing law in a Nation which fails to respect human rights.

He recently told the Guardian Newspaper of the United Kingdom of his ordeal, "I was in a court in Tehran defending one of my clients, Davoud Arjangi, a jailed political activist on death row when the judge told me that my own sentence has been approved and I will be shortly summoned to jail to serve the nine-year sentence."

The Islamic Republic of Iran and its "Revolutionary Court" regularly demonstrates before the eyes of the whole world its brand of Sharia Law. It is engaged in clear and ongoing violations of fundamental human rights. What the arrest of this lawyer will mean for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is unclear. However, it is certainly not helpful.  

The martyrs of the early Church died for their faith in the God who was revealed in Jesus Christ, and for this very reason they also died for freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one's own faith - a profession that no State can impose but which, instead, can only be claimed with God's grace in freedom of conscience.

A December 2005 address given by Pope Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia summarized the position of the Catholic Church concerning Religious Freedom as a fundamental human right:

"The Second Vatican Council, recognizing and making its own an essential principle of the modern State with the Decree on Religious Freedom, has recovered the deepest patrimony of the Church. By so doing she can be conscious of being in full harmony with the teaching of Jesus himself (cf. Mt 22: 21), as well as with the Church of the martyrs of all time."

"The ancient Church naturally prayed for the emperors and political leaders out of duty (cf. I Tm 2: 2); but while she prayed for the emperors, she refused to worship them and thereby clearly rejected the religion of the State. The martyrs of the early Church died for their faith in that God who was revealed in Jesus Christ, and for this very reason they also died for freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one's own faith - a profession that no State can impose but which, instead, can only be claimed with God's grace in freedom of conscience."

"A missionary Church known for proclaiming her message to all peoples must necessarily work for the freedom of the faith. She desires to transmit the gift of the truth that exists for one and all. At the same time, she assures peoples and their Governments that she does not wish to destroy their identity and culture by doing so, but to give them, on the contrary, a response which, in their innermost depths, they are waiting for - a response with which the multiplicity of cultures is not lost but instead unity between men and women increases and thus also peace between peoples."

The Fundamental Human Right to Religious Freedom is under a growing assault all around the world. We are facing our own version of that growing assault here in the United States of America. We must come to understand that we are a missionary Church living in a new missionary age and live our lives accordingly.

The persecution against Catholics and other Christians is escalating. Sometimes it comes from militant Islam, other times from the hostility of Marxist and Maoist ideology, and increasingly from the advance of the dictatorship of relativism and the rabid secularism which has no room for religious freedom spreading throughout the West.

We regularly report on this growing persecution against Catholics and other Christians all over the world. We are admonished, both in the scriptures and in the unbroken teaching of the Church for two millennia that we must stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted.

Jay Sekulow, the Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, recently posted an update on the urgent situation facing Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani at the ACLJ's excellent web site here. This is an excerpt:

"938 days. That's how long Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been imprisoned in Iran. His crime? He embraced Christianity and started a church. Now, with Pastor Youcef facing the death penalty, his situation is even more precarious."

"As we've reported, Pastor Youcef's attorney has now been targeted by the Iranian regime. He's been convicted and told he will begin serving a 9 year prison sentence soon. His crime? His work on human rights and his desire to help clients like Pastor Youcef.

"Pastor Youcef is a symbol of the persecuted church in Iran. The Iranian regime views Christianity as a political movement, subversive to their regime.We know the world is watching. And that's something that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who controls the fate of Pastor Youcef and his attorney, simply cannot ignore."

We agree with Jay Sekulow and are committed to doing our part in keeping the plight of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and the many other Christians facing the hostility of the Regime in Iran before the eyes of the world. We invite our global readers to pray for the persecuted Christians of Iran. We call on all elected leaders in the United States to fulfill their oath of office by speaking out on their behalf.

http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=46116

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India

 

India’s Foreign Minister tells Hillary, Pak army derailing peace process

By Saurabh Shukla

8 May 2012

EXTERNAL affairs minister S. M. Krishna on Tuesday is learnt to have told US secretary of state Hillary Clinton that the Pakistan Army is derailing the peace process between the neighbouring countries. He is also believed to have told her that the Pakistan Army was behind the cancellation of the commerce secretary- level talks this May.

According to the Indian assessment, while the civilian government in Pakistan wanted the talks, it was the general headquarters in Rawalpindi that shot it down. The talks would have paved way for the ‘ Most Favoured Nation’ status being accorded to India.

Cementing trade ties has remained the high point of the dialogue process between the two sides and on his recent visit to India, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had also told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that closer trade ties should be a priority. But Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani seems to have torpedoed it.

He is believed to be not fully behind the peace process and even though the civilian government in Pakistan wants to move forward on issues such as trade, there is a confirmation that the army has applied the brakes on the proposal.

The candid remark came when Krishna and Clinton discussed the issue of terrorism and shared their assessment on Pakistan.

According to Krishna’s assessment, the Pakistan Army is providing tactical support to the dialogue owing to internal compulsions and because of strained relationship with the US. “ It is not a strategic change in their position, but a tactical shift,” he is learnt to have told Clinton.

He has apparently asked the US to factor in pressurising Pakistan on the issue of terrorism as it negotiates the new rules of engagement.

Krishna told his US counterpart that there is no seriousness in Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of 26/ 11 terror attacks to justice. As the two leaders exchanged frank views, both agreed that the Haqqani network was being supported by the Pakistan intelligence agency, the ISI, and was responsible for recent terror attacks in Afghanistan.

They agreed on the need to strengthen their intelligence cooperation to tackle the Haqqani network, which was posing a huge security challenge for Afghanistan.

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BJP joins VHP to stop Muslim realty deals

8 May 2012

BHAVNAGAR:The rift between chief minister Narendra Modi and VHP leader Pravin Togadia may have left the party-sangh ties soured. But, when it comes to ousting Muslims from Hindu-dominated areas, BJP has supported VHP, notwithstanding Modi's new-found Sadbhavana towards Muslims.

BJP leaders in the city have joined the saffron brigade's 'Ram dhun' campaign to sabotage Muslim realty deals in the Hindu areas. And, they have no qualms about it.

Suresh Dhandhaliya, senior BJP leader and Bhavnagar mayor, along with his predecessor Parul Trivedi joined the drive to halt a deal. Trivedi, who is also a member of state BJP women's wing's executive committee, was in fact one of the organizers of Ram Darbar, a programme to prevent Hindus from selling properties to Muslims. "Muslims buying properties in Hindu areas is a major concern and we want all such deals to be called off," Dhandhaliya told TOI. The party's support comes at a time when BJP is gearing up for assembly polls later this year and Modi chanting the "sadbhavana" mantra to woo Muslims.

"Muslims have been slowly increasing their presence in Hindu-dominated areas. This will create tension in future," she said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/BJP-joins-VHP-to-stop-Muslim-realty-deals/articleshow/13060030.cms

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Iran a key country for India’s energy needs: External Affairs Minister

May 9, 2012

NEW DELHI: Responding to American demands on reducing oil imports from Iran, India on Tuesday pushed back, saying Iran was "a key country" for India's energy needs.

Responding to questions at a joint press interaction with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, foreign minister SM Krishna said, "We have to look at the Iran issue beyond the issue of energy trade. In the first place, we have to think about the security and stability in the Gulf region. India has vital stakes in the Gulf region. Six million Indians live and work in the Gulf region and beyond. It is one of the critical destinations of our external trade -- over $100 billion in exports, and over 60% of oil imports, and a major source of remittances."

After the public harangue of India on its oil imports from Iran, the actual conversation between US and India covered a far broader canvas. At the heart of the discussions between Clinton and the Indian leadership was the broader geopolitical question on Iran, and its nuclear programme. Both India and US said they hoped for a breakthrough in the forthcoming nuclear talks in Baghdad.

Oil prices have eased globally, because of the drop in demand from Europe and an impending Greek crisis. This will substantially help both the US to push other countries to cut oil imports from Iran as well as make it easier for India to source oil from other suppliers at short notice or even on the spot market.

A greater danger to the US, according to Indian officials, comes from the recent announcement that China is paying for a lot of Iranian oil in renminbi. Media reports speculate that sustained US sanctions may actually help in legitimizing the Chinese renminbi as an alternative to the dollar. India pays for 45% of its oil imports from Iran in rupees. Iran is expected to use both Chinese and Indian currencies to buy things from these countries.

Specifically on the oil imports, Krishna said, "Iran remains an important source of oil for us, although its share in our imports are declining which is well-known. Ultimately, it reflects the decision that refineries make based on commercial, financial and technical considerations. We have discussed our position and our perspectives on energy security, and these discussions will continue. As far as India is concerned, we subscribe to and rigorously implement the UN Security Council Resolutions. This issue, however, is not a source of discord between our two countries."

Krishna also flagged other issues of concern to India. "There are issues on both sides. I did convey our concerns about the continuing difficulties on mobility of professionals, especially for our IT companies, and protectionist sentiments in the US with regard to global supply chain in services industry."

Afghanistan figured prominently in the talks, an issue where there is enormous convergence between US and India. Afghanistan has signed two independent strategic partnership agreements with US and India. Giving a strong thumbs-up to the US-Afghan agreement, Krishna said, "Afghanistan is at a crucial juncture as it begins to assume greater responsibility for the governance, development and security. The most important signal that the international community has to give is a strong, sustained commitment to Afghanistan. With that, I am confident that Afghanistan will become a sovereign, independent, united and economically viable state capable of defeating terrorism, and resisting interference from outside. We see the US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement in that spirit."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Iran-a-key-country-for-Indias-energy-needs-SM-Krishna/articleshow/13059714.cms

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835 pilgrims from Uttarakhand to undertake Haj yatra

09 MAY 2012

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna inaugurated the online lottery system for the selection of Haj pilgrims in a programme organised by Haj Committee at Dehradun on Tuesday.

The CM disclosed names of 835 selected Haj pilgrims. He also announced the establishment of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad Education Foundation to take minorities ahead in field of education.

Bahuguna extended his best wishes to selected Haj pilgrims and sympathising with people who were not selected. He said that State Government was persuading the Centre to increase quota of Haj pilgrims for the State. It was endeavour of the State Government to look after the welfare of minority.

He said that Uttarakhand was a unique State that has religious pilgrimages like Char Dham, Piran Kaliyar and Hemkund Sahib.

Stating that the State Government is committed towards the welfare of the Minority Community, the CM said that separate Minority Welfare Ministry has been constituted in the State.

“The State Government is trying to pursue the Centre to facilitate direct flight service from Uttarakhand to Saudi Arab for Haj pilgrims of the State,” he said.

Owing to efforts made by the CM various welfare programs for the minorities, development of basic infrastructures, free cycle scheme for students. Student motivational scheme, marriage schemes for girls, training and guidance schemes and many more were in the pipeline.

Other dignitaries including Parliamentary Secretary & Piran Kaliyar MLA Furkan Ahmed, Gangotri MLA Vijaypal Singh Sajwan, Rajpur MLA Rajkumar, Director Minority Vikramajit Tiwari, Shehar Kazi Mufti Shalim Ahmed and Altaf Hussain were present there.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/63889-835-pilgrims-from-uttarakhand-to-undertake-haj-yatra.html

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Miami University confers Doctorate on Oscar-winning Indian Muslim musician A.R. Rahman

8 May 2012

Oscar-winning musician A R Rahman has been conferred with his first American Honorary Doctorate by the Miami University here.

The Indian composer was given the honorary degree for Doctor of Music at the University’s 173rd Annual Commencement Ceremony held at the Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio.

It is Rahman’s fourth doctorate. He has previously been honoured by Aligarh Muslim University, Anna University and Middlesex University in the UK.

Addressing a gathering of over 15,000 students, Rahman said it was great to share his love and music with Miami University.

“I wish to thank a few people who have made a significant impact in my life: My father and mother have anchored me with good values; then Mani Ratnam who is India’s noted filmmaker gave me my first break in the world of cinema in the film Roja,” Rahman said in his address.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/music/article3400306.ece

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Kolkata: Caught in 2 depts’ indecision, madrasah runs without chief

May 09 2012

Kolkata : At a time when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is all set to give recognition to 10,000 madrasahs, a premier institution in central Kolkata has been reeling under administrative problems. The Calcutta Madrasah on Haji Md Mohsin Square has been functioning for over four years but without any headmaster, and authorities are busy passing the buck. They seem to be oblivious of which department is supposed to address the issue.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/caught-in-2-depts-indecision-madrasah-runs-without-chief/947135/

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Pakistan’s ISI trying to revive Babbar Khalsa for terror in Punjab: Indian Govt

May 09 2012

New Delhi : Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI is trying to revive Babbar Khalsa in order to resurrect terrorism in Punjab, the government informed Parliament today.

Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh gave this information in reply a question in this regard in Rajya Sabha.

Babbar Khalsa is a banned terrorist organisation.

"The government is committed to combat terrorism, extremism and separatism in all its forms and manifestations as no cause, genuine or imaginary can justify terrorism or violence," Singh said in the written reply.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/947281/

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J & K: Internal strife widens in Mirwaiz Hurriyat faction

May 09, 2012

The internal strife in the so-called moderate faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference alliance, headed by Kashmir’s chief Muslim cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, is getting murkier by the day. As the leaders chose to wash their dirty linen in public during the past few days, the activists owing allegiance to the competitors within the high-power executive council of the amalgam on Tuesday went a step further by fighting it out in the open. In the clash, occurred in full glare of televisions cameras and in presence of mediapersons and onlookers during and after the crucial meeting of the executive council at the Hurriyat Conference headquarters here, some furniture items were also damaged. The activists belonging to rival camps while chanting slogans could be seen virtually at each other’s throat. At one stage, senior separatist leaders Syed Shabir Ahmed Shah was heard saying “Ham ney bhi chooriyan nahi pehni hai” in response to the open and abrasive criticism of his publicly asking for restructuring the Hurriyat Conference by Bilal Gani Lone, another executive member of the amalgam. Large contingents of policemen had been deployed outside the headquarters at Raj Bagh in anticipation of trouble spreading.

The sources said that during Tuesday’s meeting some executive council members openly spoke against Prof. Abdul Gani Butt, a former chairman and leader of Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference.

http://www.asianage.com/india/internal-strife-widens-mirwaiz-hurriyat-faction-160

 

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Pakistan

 

Gilani's fate hangs in balance

ANITA JOSHUA

8 May 2012

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday made it clear that it held Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in contempt of court because his persistent defiance of the highest judiciary could be substantially detrimental to the administration of justice.

In its detailed order — issued 13 days after the short order that sentenced Mr. Gilani to a 37-second symbolic arrest on April 26 — the Supreme Court said this was a case where the highest executive functionary of the country had wilfully, deliberately and persistently defied a clear direction of the highest court of the land.

The Prime Minister was held in contempt for repeatedly refusing to write to the Swiss authorities asking them to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. The government's contention had been that Mr. Zardari enjoys presidential immunity as long as he is in office.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3398102.ece

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Pakistani textbook says 9/11 happened last year!

May 9, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Shocking Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lawmakers with its factual errors, a Pashto textbook for Class 5 students says the 9/11 terror attack happened in 2011 and the general elections will be held in the country in February 2008.

Lawmakers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly were left stunned when an opposition member pointed out errors in the book, reported Dawn.

"At times incidents occur, which hugely affect human history and re-write a new one. Like 'September 11, 2011' incident in America is before us. The incident occurs in America but the whole world got affected," said the social study book recently introduced by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textbook Board Peshawar.

9/11 refers to the Sep 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre complex in New York and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Mufti Said Janan, who highlighted the matter, wondered as to how the people could expect any good from the government when it was distorting facts and history.

The lawmaker read several paragraphs from the book. Thousands of copies have been published in Pashto and distributed among students free of cost.

A paragraph said general elections will be held in the country in February 2008.

The general elections are scheduled to be held in 2013.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistani-textbook-says-9/11-happened-last-year/articleshow/13063634.cms

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No one could force me out of office: Pak PM Yousuf Raza Gilani

May 9, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's defiant Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that no one could force him out of office through unconstitutional means and he would exhaust all all avenues for a fair trial following his conviction of contempt by the Supreme Court.

"I have no yearning to stick to power but I will take it to the finality and exhaust all avenues," he told journalists who accompanied him on an official visit to Britain.

He was speaking on Tuesday after the apex court issued its detailed order on the premier's conviction last month.

Asked about his refusal to implement the apex court's orders for reopening graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and his subsequent conviction of contempt, Gilani said the constitution explicitly spelt out the ways to remove a Prime Minister and that no one could force him out of office through unconstitutional means.

Gilani said he had the right to appeal after the announcement of the apex court's detailed judgement.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/No-one-could-force-me-out-of-office-Pak-PM-Yousuf-Raza-Gilani/articleshow/13062987.cms

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Peace, progress only options: Shahbaz Sharif

May 9, 2012

LAHORE: India and Pakistan have no option but to live as friendly neighbours, Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif said at the concluding session of the two-day Indo-Pak economic conference held as part of the Aman ki Asha initiative of Times of India and Pakistan's Jang Group.

"We've fought wars, seen destruction. But the time has come to eliminate poverty and hunger from the region. There is growing realization that war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours is not an option. We need to engage in mutual trade and investment and to utilize our resources for the betterment of our nations," Sharif added.

Observers at the conference called the two-day event a great leap forward in easing tensions between the two countries. "In the past, several efforts have been made to sort out differences and strike out on the path of peace. But this time, it was different. Unlike in the past, none of the participants touched upon any of the sensitive chords. Surprisingly, I did not hear even one negative word from the anti-peace lobby," said Ghazi Salhuddin, an analyst.

The conference's concluding session was chaired by CII president Adi Godrej. Speaking at the conference, Sharat Sabharwal, Indian high commissioner to Pakistan said the revised visa agreement between New Delhi and Islamabad should be signed by month-end when home secretaries of both countries meet in Pakistan. The meeting is scheduled for May 24 and 25. India, he said, was working on simplifying its visa norms and the details will be made available on the high commission's website in the next few days. He added, "Anyway, we are issuing visas much faster to the business community over the last few months."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Peace-progress-only-options-Shahbaz-Sharif/articleshow/13060488.cms

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When I’m PM, will work to resolve Kashmir issue: Imran Khan

May 9, 2012

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan says when his party wins power his top priority would be to start a dialogue with India to resolve the Kashmir issue. The former cricket ace is seen as a strong prime ministerial candidate in the next polls and his party is on the upswing. He envisages India and Pakistan having trade ties like those shared by the US and Canada. "I believe nothing is impossible." Khan was the star speaker at the concluding day of the 2nd Aman ki Asha Indo-Pak economic conference on Tuesday.

Imran cut a striking figure in a white pathan suit and said among all Pakistani politicians, he knows India best because of his cricketing past. "Indo-Pak relations should be based on trust. It is awful that whenever we get close, some incident happens and we are back to square one. New governments can foster new ties. We need strong leadership in both nations which can withstand strong pressure. There's a small industry on both sides that benefit from ill will. We need a strong leadership in Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue." He cited the leadership of Charles de Gaulle in France, who stood up to pressures and resolved the Algerian crisis by giving the latter independence.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/When-Im-PM-will-work-to-resolve-Kashmir-issue-Imran-Khan/articleshow/13060374.cms

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Top Pakistani police officer shot dead

May 8, 2012

QUETTA: A senior Pakistani police officer was killed in a drive-by shooting in the troubled southwestern province of Baluchistan on Tuesday, police said.

Shah Nawaz Khan was a senior member of Baluchistan's Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which investigates all offences including terror cases and sectarian killings.

"He was killed in the early morning when he was going for a walk," provincial police chief Rao Amin Hashim told AFP.

"Two young persons were riding a motorcycle and one of them opened fire on him. They escaped and he succumbed to his injuries before medical help could arrive," Hashim added.

The police chief said it was not immediately clear who was responsible.

Baluchistan suffers from Islamist militancy linked to the Taliban, sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and a separatist insurgency.

"He was posted in CID and was investigating many important cases. So I can't really say at this time who the killers were," Hashim said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Top-Pakistani-police-officer-shot-dead/articleshow/13055039.cms

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India should take bold initiative to resolve Siachen dispute: Pak FM

8 May 2012

India should take a “bold initiative” to resolve the Siachen dispute that has been lingering for 23 years on the world’s highest battleground, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said.

Ms. Khar called on India to show “flexibility” and meet Pakistan “half way” in normalising relations and resolving “core issues” like the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan wants the amicable solution to all disputes with India, including the Kashmir issue, through dialogue, Ms. Khar said told reporters after addressing a conference of Indian and Pakistani businessmen here.

Ms. Khar referred to the avalanche that hit a high-altitude Pakistan Army camp in the Siachen sector and buried 139 people under snow last month and said the two countries had “23 years of lost opportunities” to resolve the standoff on the Himalayan glacier.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3397318.ece

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4, including MQM activist, PAC member, killed in Karachi

8 May 2012

KARACHI: Four people, including an activist of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and a member of outlawed People’s Amn Committee (PAC), were killed in separate acts of target killing in different parts of the metropolis on Tuesday.

A man was shot dead near Chamcha Hotel, Orangi Town within the limits of Orangi Town police station. Thirty-eight years old Mirza Sarfaraz, son of Mirza Ahmed Ali, a resident of Al-Karam Square, Liaquatabad, was going to open his general store in Sector 12-L, Orangi Town. When he reached near Chamcha Hotel two armed men, riding a motorcycle sprayed him with bullets. Resultantly he received seven bullets and died on the spot. After committing the crime, culprits managed to flee from the scene. Body was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities, where scores of MQM workers rushed. DSP Tariq Malik said the victim was an active worker of MQM Unit 119 and also belonged to Shia sect, adding that the motive behind the murder was yet to be ascertained but initially police revealed that sectarian killing might be the motive behind the incident. Police have recovered seven empty shells of 9mm pistol from the scene. He informed that it was a target-killing incident, but the reason of the murder would be clear after investigation.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\05\09\story_9-5-2012_pg7_23

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Malik has fabricated ‘evidence’ against Nawaz: Rana Sanaullah

 May 9, 2012

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz’s (PML-N) leader and Punjb Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Wednesday that Interior Minister Rehman Malik had fabricated ‘evidence’ against PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, DawnNews reported.

Speaking to media representatives outside the Punjab Assembly, Sanaullah said that Malik “is a liar” and “even his party members mistrust him”.

He said that if Malik took his ‘evidence’ to the courts, the PML-N would prove it wrong.

The provincial minister also demanded accountability for the withdrawal of “five billion rupees from Swiss accounts”.

Moreover, Sanaullah claimed that Malik had acquired property in London using money made through corruption.

On the other hand, Pakistan People’s Party’s senior leader Raja Riaz Ahmed said that if a resolution against the prime minister’s ineligibility was tabled in the parliament, PPP members would not  allow it to pass.

Ahmed also pointed out that the two resolutions tabled by the PML-N in the Punjab Assembly failed to acknowledge south Punjab.

He added that after facing defeat in the recent Dera Ghazi Khan by-elections, the PML-N appeared baffled and confused.

http://dawn.com/2012/05/09/malik-has-fabricated-evidence-against-nawaz-rana-sanaullah/

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Pakistan militants vow holy war for Osama bin Laden

 May 8, 2012

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: Militants in Pakistan's North Waziristan on Tuesday distributed pamphlets pledging holy war to mark the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, albeit a week late.

Masked militants armed with assault rifles handed out copies of the pamphlet from pick-up vehicles in Miranshah, the main town of the tribal district that has become known as Pakistan's premier Al-Qaeda and Taliban hub.

"Let us pledge today that we will continue our jihad (holy war) and sacrifice our lives and property in the way of Allah like Sheikh Osama did," it said, unsigned and dated May 2, the anniversary of the Al-Qaeda leader's killing by US troops.

"Today, a year since Sheikh Osama bin Laden embraced martyrdom, the enemy America is repenting. It is facing defeat and Pakistan's future is also bleak," it said.

The pamphlet distribution followed two days of rare fighting between troops and Islamist militants in Miranshah that killed 19 soldiers and civilians, officials said.

Gunbattles in North Waziristan are relatively rare because of an agreement between insurgents and the military not to attack each other.

Pakistan has resisted US pressure to conduct a major offensive in the district, saying it is too overstretched fighting homegrown insurgents elsewhere in the tribal belt.

Bin Laden was killed on May 2 2011 in a secret US Navy SEAL operation in a walled-off compound in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad.

Pakistan went on high alert last week over fears of revenge attacks, but the anniversary passed off peacefully.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-militants-vow-holy-war-for-Osama-bin-Laden/articleshow/13052403.cms

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US bill prohibits aid to Pak till it cooperates on terror war

May 9, 2012

WASHINGTON: A Congressional committee in its budgetary proposals for the year 2013 has prohibited economic and security assistance to Pakistan till it co-operates with the US in the fight against terrorism and takes action against groups like Haqqani network, Taliban, al-Qaida, LeT and JeM.

"The legislation prohibits economic and security assistance unless the government of Pakistan is cooperating with the US on counterterrorism efforts and other issues," the house appropriations committee said in a statement as it released the 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.

The bill totals USD 40.1 billion in regular discretionary funding, which is USD two billion or five per cent below last year's level. The bill running into 208 pages will be considered by a congressional sub-committee later on Tuesday.

Among other things, the bill includes USD 8.2 billion in overseas contingency operations/global war on terror funding, which will adequately provide for continued US involvement in front-line countries and other war-related efforts.

In total, including war funding, the bill is USD five billion - or nine per cent- below fiscal year 2012, the House Committee said in a statement.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/US-bill-prohibits-aid-to-Pak-till-it-cooperates-on-terror-war/articleshow/13061706.cms

 

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Africa

 

Libya PM brands Tripoli office attackers outlaws

8 May 2012

Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib has branded gunmen who attacked his office in the capital Tripoli as "outlaws".

In a televised speech he said the men had "pretended" to be rebel fighters to claim cash handouts offered as rewards for helping to topple Col Gaddafi.

One security guard was killed when about 200 armed men, some carrying mortars, tried to storm the building.

They were eventually repelled by security forces.

"This afternoon, the building of the council of ministers came under attack by outlawed gunmen pretending to be revolutionaries, but they are not," said Mr Keib.

"These outlaws claimed that their attack was for getting some cash allocated as rewards for the real revolutionaries."

He added: "As the government asserts that it will deliver on its promises, it also announces that it will not give in to blackmail or to outlaws and will not negotiate under the threat of force."

Three other security guards and one of the gunmen were also injured in the battle, Tripoli security official Khaled Besher said.

Fourteen of the attackers had been arrested, he added.

Rocket launchers

Government spokesman Nasser al-Manaa said that a group of demonstrators had gathered outside the offices on Tuesday morning.

By noon, the crowd had grown to 200 people including gunmen from the western town of Yafran backed by about 50 trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18000357

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Algeria debates chances of Islamists' rise in parliament

8 May 2012 

ALGIERS, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Influenced by pro-democratic movements in the region, Islamists in Algeria are striving for a rise in politics though the May 10 parliamentary elections.

Presently, it is hard to predict if the Algerian Islamists in the opposition can repeat a landslide victory made by their brothers in many countries in the Arab world, as observers say the North African nation is quite different from its neighbors.

In general, Islamists parties in Algeria have not suffered political marginalization as their peers did in neighboring countries. Also, there has been, so far, no reliable survey to measure the chances of winning of the Islamists in the elections.

Mhand Berkouk, the head of the Algerian Center for Strategic Researches and Security (CRSS), told Xinhua that "Algeria is neither Tunisia nor Morocco or Egypt. We have our own political history where Islamism is an essential part of the political landscape and we've seen at least one Islamist political party sharing the power, like the Movement of Society of Peace (MSP)."

Berkouk further said that "a number of Islamist parties are on the race, and their chances are less than one would expect because they are contesting the same segment of voters. And regarding the wrath of Islamism, which is also the hotbed of terrorism, Algerians have become very weary of Islamism not as a social phenomenon but as a political agenda."

Full report at:

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-05/08/c_131575892.htm

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Are Islamists being scapegoated as the new ghoul of Egypt?

Sarah El-Rashidi

8 May 2012

Since the Islamist parliamentary victory, many fear creeping infringements on freedom of expression and social freedoms, while Islamists claim they are being scapegoated by liberals and remnants of the former regime

Events following the January 25 Revolution have indicated increased limitations on social freedoms in Egypt, which many fear will escalate under Islamist rule. Since the Islamists’ parliamentary victory last year, numerous rumours and court cases involving Islamist lawyers restricting freedom of expression continue to plague Egyptian society.

“We are going back to the darkness of the Middle Ages.”

So articulated Alaa El-Aswany the liberal author of The Yacoubian Building on the micro-blogging website Twitter in reaction to the case brought against the celebrated actor Adel Imam. Imam was first convicted in February of “contempt of religion” by ultra-conservative Islamist lawyer Asran Mansour who accused him of blasphemous mocking of Muslims and Islam in three of his films.

In Egypt’s eminent art scene, there was an outcry from liberal and secular figures. In a public statement the Egyptian Creativity Front said that “the ruling would limit freedom of expression and lead to restrictions on art.”

Considering the fallout of the charges brought against Imam, entertainment reporter Tarek El-Shinnawi wrote that “Imam's case will make any writer, director or actor think before considering the role of a Muslim figure”.

A similar indictment was brought against business tycoon and founder of the Free Egyptians Party Naguib Sawiris by Islamist lawyers in January. The case revolved around a cartoon Sawiris had tweeted of a cartoon of Mickey Mouse with a long beard and Minnie Mouse with her face covered. The case was finally dismissed, but adds to the alarm of many liberal spectators.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/41069/Egypt/Politics-/Are-Islamists-being-scapegoated-as-the-new-ghoul-o.aspx

 

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South Asia

 

Afghan army puts foreign boots on ground

8 May 2012

Afghan bootmaker risks bankruptcy after losing NATO-brokered contract to supply footwear to national army.

Once hailed as a model for the country's economic development, the Afghan Milli Boot factory now risks bankruptcy.

NATO commissioned the shoe manufacturer to produce boots for the Afghan army but, ahead of the 2014 NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Afghan government is now making such decisions.

In this case, it has chosen a cheaper deal abroad, overlooking the local producer.

Business leaders however, say that this is not only due to cheaper options available outside the country, but also due to one of the country's most pressing issues: corruption.

Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse reports from Kabul.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2012/05/2012595411423671.html

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US will remain committed to Afghanistan even after pullout: Hillary Clinton

May 9, 2012

NEW DELHI: US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Tuesday said that even after the Nato-ISAF withdrawal in 2014 from Afghanistan, US and NATO will maintain a "commitment of security and development support''. She said US will support Afghanistan's security and stability and will contribute to building capacity in their government, and enhancing their economic growth and development.

"That will continue. I think the details of that are being worked out on our side, speaking just for the United States, with the strategic agreement. And now we will negotiate a security agreement,'' she said at a joint press interaction after her meeting with foreign minister SM Krishna.

"There are a couple of milestones up ahead. At the Nato meeting in Chicago in about two weeks, there will be a reaffirmation of our commitment to Afghanistan, both to the transition to Afghan-led security and then after 2014. The Indian government will host a private sector conference to encourage more private sector investment in Afghanistan in June,'' she added.

Clinton said the al-Qaida plot to bomb a US bound airplane in Yemen suggested that terror groups keep trying to devise more and more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people. "It is a reminder why we have to remain vigilant," she said.

"The device did not appear to pose a threat to the public air service but the plot itself indicated that the terrorists keep trying to devise more and more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people," she added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/US-will-remain-committed-to-Afghanistan-even-after-pullout-Hillary-Clinton/articleshow/13059063.cms

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AP-GfK Poll: Support for Afghan war at new low

8 May 2012

WASHINGTON: Support for the war in Afghanistan has reached a new low, with only 27 per cent of Americans saying they back the effort and about half of those who oppose the war saying the continued presence of American troops in Afghanistan is doing more harm than good, according to an AP-GfK poll.

In results released Wednesday, 66 per cent opposed the war, with 40 per cent saying they were “strongly” opposed. A year ago, 37 per cent favored the war, and in the spring of 2010, support was at 46 per cent. Eight per cent strongly supported the war in the new poll.

The poll found that far fewer people than last year think the killing of Osama bin Laden by US troops has increased the threat of terrorism against Americans. Overall, 27 per cent say the al Qaeda leader’s death resulted in an increased terror threat, 31 per cent believe his death decreased the threat of terrorism and 38 per cent say it has had no effect. The poll was conducted before the revelation this week of a recent al Qaeda plot to blow up a US-bound airliner with an underwear bomb.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/09/ap-gfk-poll-support-for-afghan-war-at-new-low/

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Triple attacks kill 11 in Afghanistan

8 May 2012

KABUL: Afghan officials say seven Afghan policemen, four Education Ministry employees and a body guard have been killed in three separate attacks.

Din Mohammad Darwesh, a spokesman for the governor of Logar province in the east, says two policemen were killed Tuesday when Taliban militants ambushed them in a bazaar near the provincial capital of Pul-e-Alam.

Gawas Malayar, deputy police chief in Farah province, says a roadside-remote-controlled bomb killed five police officers late on Tuesday in Pusht Rod district in western Afghanistan.

Farah province’s regional police spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi blamed the attack on “enemies of Afghanistan”, a phrase used by Afghan officials to refer to the Taliban, which is still fighting a bitter insurgency more than a decade after being toppled from power by the 2001 US-led invasion.

In eastern Afghanistan, close to the border with Pakistan, a provincial education director was severely wounded in a Taliban roadside bomb and gun attack that left four of his guards dead, officials said.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/09/triple-attacks-kill-12-in-afghanistan/

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Former Maldivian President in campaign mode after revamping party

R. K. RADHAKRISHNAN

8 May 2012

After completing a purge in the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the former President, Mohamed Nasheed, has begun campaigning for the presidential election primaries.

The dates for the election are yet to be announced. The political parties in the Maldives, a country of about 1,200 islands, are yet to arrive at a consensus on when the elections should be held.

After a few recent set backs, including two electoral reverses, Mr. Nasheed had decided it was time to reorganise the party. Last week, the MDP removed its president, Ibrahim Didi, and deputy, Alhan Fahmy, at an emergency meeting of the party's National Congress at Dharubaaruge.

Mr. Didi was seen as a moderate within the MDP with whom the present Waheed government had held discussions on various issues, including that of MDP joining the national unity government.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3398061.ece

 

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South East Asia

 

Russian passenger jet reported missing in Indonesia

May 09 2012

A Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger plane with at least 44 people aboard has gone missing on a demonstration flight in Indonesia, reports say.

The plane disappeared from radar screens during a flight from Jakarta meant to last 30 minutes, a blogger with the Sukhoi delegation said.

Helicopters were dispatched to look for the jet, thought to have been flying near a mountain, Sergey Dolya said.

Emergency services confirmed a Sukhoi plane was missing.

The plane, which took off at 07:00 GMT, is believed to have had about four hours' fuel aboard, the BBC's Karishma Vaswani reports from Jakarta.

Gagah Prakoso, spokesman for Indonesia's national search and rescue agency, said 46 people had been aboard the plane, which vanished from radar near Bogor, a city in West Java province.

He told BBC News it was unclear who was on board because they were people invited by Sukhoi, but they were "likely to be reps of Indonesian airlines".

Dolya tweeted that there were 44 people aboard, eight of them Russians.

'Guests aboard'

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18004097

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Arab world

 

800 people embrace Islam

Ahmed Shaaban

8 May 2012

Around 800 residents of different nationalities converted to Islam this year so far at the Islamic Information Centre (IIC) of the Dar Al Ber Society.

According to a senior official, the new Muslims include 177 people converted in April. “The fresh converts are hailing from different nationalities, mostly Asians, Africans, Europeans and Arabs,” said Khalid Sultan Al Ulama, Director of IIC. As many as 1,350 people converted to Islam at the centre last year. “The new converts are basically attracted to the tolerant, merciful and rational teachings of Islam,” he said, noting that official certificates are issued for the new Muslims.

“Non-Muslims have a good chance to meet new Muslims and listen to many conversion stories from their compatriots in their own languages. Such a way proves an astounding success in imparting the right message of Islam,” he said.

Of the new Muslims hailing from 16 different nationalities, the Philippines topped the list with some annual 80 per cent, followed by Indians and Chinese.” The list of other nationalities spans Britain, America, Germany, France, Italy, Romania, Russia and Holland.

Al Ulama said that the centre has also distributed 10,000 copies of books, booklets, brochures, cassettes and CDs along with introductory lectures on Islam and its principles.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/community/2012/May/community_May14.xml&section=communit

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5 Die in Attack on Home of Iraq Government Worker

8 May 2012

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi police say five people have died in an attack on the home of a government employee northeast of Baghdad.

Diyala provincial police spokesman Col. Ghalib al-Karkhi says gunmen broke into the house of Interior Ministry worker Tariq Mohammed in the city of Baqouba early on Wednesday and shot him dead, along with his 18-year old son.

Minutes later, a bomb planted by the gunmen exploded as neighbors rushed to the shooting scene. The blast killed three and wounded five people.

Baqouba, the provincial capital of Diyala, is 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad.

Although the level of violence in Iraq is nowhere near where it was five years ago when the country almost descended into civil war, deadly attacks on government employees and security forces are still common.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/05/09/world/middleeast/ap-ml-iraq.html?ref=global-home&gwh=42E5C7B2CB131A170F553C765CDB87FB

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Fearful nights in Damascus as unrest gets closer

8 May 2012

DAMASCUS: When darkness falls, streets in Damascus empty as people brace for explosions and crackles of gunfire — once distant threats which now bring fear and sleepless nights to the heart of the Syrian capital.

For months the unrest that erupted across Syria last year, when opponents of President Bashar al-Assad demonstrated for greater rights, was held at bay from the government stronghold of Damascus, even as street protests turned to armed struggle.

Now Damascenes feel the unrest is encroaching on their homes and the sense of unease is tangible.

Frequent explosions shake the city, ranging from a bombing which killed at least nine people in the Midan district 10 days ago to nightly blasts, many of which remain unexplained.

Activists blame some of the detonations on Assad’s security forces, saying they are deliberately heightening the sense of insecurity as part of efforts to portray a popular uprising as a violent campaign by foreign-backed militants.

They say soldiers and police have carried out waves of arrests in Damascus during attempts to suppress months of peaceful protests, fired on marchers and shelled the eastern suburbs of the capital for weeks to dislodge rebel fighters.

In the city itself, blast walls now surround several government buildings and some streets are blocked on Fridays, when protesters pour out of mosques here and across the country to demand an end to more than four decades of Assad family rule.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/09/fearful-nights-in-damascus-as-unrest-gets-closer/

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Rebels Kill Seven Pro-Assad Militiamen: Activists

8 May 2012

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian rebels killed at least seven militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in an attack on a bus carrying the fighters through a Damascus suburb, opposition activists said.

The attack with rocket-propelled grenades destroyed the vehicle on the edge of Irbin, 5km (3 miles) east of the capital's main Abbasid Square at around 9.30 a.m. (0630 GMT), activists said.

"Troops sealed off the area then tanks began shelling. A five-storey building was badly hit but it was empty," activist Mohammad Saeed told Reuters, saying he was speaking by satellite phone from the suburb.

Irbin was among several northern and eastern Damascus suburbs that briefly fell under rebel control before the army seized them back at the end of January.

Syria has barred most independent journalists from the country, making it is difficult to verify reports of attacks and casualties.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/05/09/world/middleeast/09reuters-syria.html?ref=global-home

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Red Cross, UN appeal for Palestinian hunger strikers

8 May 2012

GENEVA: The International Committee of the Red Cross called on Israel on Tuesday to transfer six Palestinians who have been on hunger strike for weeks to hospital and allow visits from their families.

All six are in prison under Israel’s long-standing policy of detaining people it suspects of security offenses or plotting attacks in a closed military proceeding between security forces and military judges rather than after a formal trial. Prison terms for “administrative detainees” are renewable for six months at a time.

In a statement, the humanitarian agency said that the six are in “imminent danger of dying,” although it upheld their right to choose whether or not they wanted to receive treatment.

“We urge the detaining authorities to transfer all six detainees without delay to a suitable hospital so that their condition can be continuously monitored and so that they can receive specialized medical and nursing care,” said Juan Pedro Schaerer, head of the ICRC delegation in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The six have refused food for between 47 and 71 days, and are among more than 1,600 detainees who have been on hunger strike for some three weeks, according to the ICRC.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article629628.ece

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Losing Faith With Protesters in Bahrain

By SOUAD MEKHENNET

8 May 2012

MANAMA, BAHRAIN — No member of this trio ever planned on staying on this island. They had come either to visit friends or to work a one-year contract in the Gulf state.

But they never left — and now they offer an interesting view of the stirrings in Bahrain, which unlike any of the other Arab states affected by uprisings in the past year, has a majority population of expatriates.

The three unmarried, childless Western women — Carol Melrose, a 56-year-old Briton; Abby Navarre, a 53-year-old Briton; and Sarah, a 29-year-old American who asked not to be further identified — said life before the uprisings had been relaxed.

“You could wear whatever you want, could get out with your friends to all kinds of restaurants and clubs, life was very easy,” Ms. Navarre said.

Now, they are caught between the government and demonstrators. At the outset, they said, they were very sympathetic toward the protesters because they had witnessed discrimination against Shiites applying for jobs or housing.

“I felt it is good that the protesters were demanding more rights,” said Ms. Navarre, who works in real estate and, like Ms. Melrose, has lived in Bahrain for more than 20 years.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/world/middleeast/09iht-letter09.html?ref=middleeast&gwh=E14485491983DBECFB3C446FF28F6B88

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'Last chance' to avoid civil war in Syria: Kofi Annan

8 May 2012

DAMASCUS: UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said on Tuesday his peace plan could be the "last chance" to avoid civil war in Syria, where a truce has failed to end 14 months of bloodshed that monitors say has killed nearly 12,000 people.

Annan told the UN Security Council he had particular concerns that torture, mass arrests and other human rights violations are intensifying.

Regime forces "continue to press against the population," the envoy said, despite a putative truce that started on April 12, but attacks are more discrete because of the presence of UN monitors, diplomats said.

Annan briefed the council on his efforts to get President Bashar al-Assad to implement his six-point peace plan, which he said was possibly "the last chance to avoid civil war."

He stressed, however, that the peace bid was not an "open ended" opportunity for Assad, the diplomats who attended the briefing said.

Annan updated the UN body on the status of his six-point plan, including the observer mission, a day after UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned world powers are racing against time to prevent all-out civil war in Syria.

Speaking on Monday, Ban again condemned the "brutality" of Assad's forces but said attacks by opposition groups have also "escalated."

"We are in a race against time to prevent full-scale civil war -- death on a potentially massive scale," Ban said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said almost 12,000, the majority of them civilians, had died since the revolt broke out in March 2011.

The Britain-based watchdog said of the total, some 800 had died since the truce technically went into effect.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Last-chance-to-avoid-civil-war-in-Syria-Kofi-Annan/articleshow/13055197.cms

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Bomber in Qaeda plot was double agent: reports

8 May 2012

The suicide bomber dispatched by the terrorist leaders of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula to blow up a U.S. plane was in fact a double agent who worked for the Saudi intelligence agency, a media report said.

The plot, unearthed last month, was made public on Monday after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said the bomb was similar to that of the underwear bomber of 2009, but was a bit more sophisticated and technically advanced.

“In an extraordinary intelligence coup, the double agent left Yemen last month, travelling by way of the United Arab Emirates, and delivered both the innovative bomb designed for his aviation attack and inside information on the group’s leaders, locations, methods and plans to Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi intelligence and allied foreign intelligence agencies,” The New York Times reported.

According to the daily, after spending weeks at the centre of al-Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliate, intelligence agent provided critical information that permitted the CIA to direct the drone strike on Sunday that killed Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso, the group’s external operations director and a suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.

“He also handed over the bomb, designed by the group’s top explosives expert to be undetectable at airport security checks, to the FBI, which is analysing its properties at its laboratory in Virginia,” the report said, adding the agent is now safe in Saudi Arabia.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3399768.ece

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Iran upgrades Palestinian Jihad Islami’s Gaza arsenal with coastal missiles

8 May 2012

Iran is working at speed to give the Jihad Islami, its radical Palestinian arm in the Gaza Strip, a strong military edge over the ruling Hamas which it no longer trusts, DEBKAfile’s exclusive military sources report.  Tehran is motivated by two objectives:

1.  Because of its growing distance from the Assad regime in Syria, Hamas can no longer be relied on to support the Islamic Republic’s cause and strike Israel or US Middle East targets if the latter go to war on  Iran’s nuclear program.

One of Tehran’s top strategic priorities now is therefore to set Jihad Islami up as the spearhead of a potential attack on Israel instead of Hamas from the Gaza Strip and its Mediterranean coast.

2.  Partly also as a rejoinder to the Qatari and Saudi arms shipments channeled to the Syrian rebels through Turkey, Iran is matching the level and quality of those arms deliveries by its own consignments through Sinai or by sea to the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian extremist group.

Full report at:

http://www.debka.com/article/21980/

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Israel: Iran Must Commit to Stop All Enrichment

 May 9, 2012

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is accusing Iran of "playing for time" in negotiations over its nuclear program with the international community, and says an upcoming round of talks can only succeed if the Iranians agree to halt all uranium enrichment.

Israel, like the West, believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb. Enriched uranium is a key ingredient in bomb making, though it can also be used in energy production. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

The world's major powers are set to hold a new round of talks with Iran on May 23 in Baghdad.

An Israeli official says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his position to visiting EU envoy Catherine Ashton on Wednesday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/05/09/world/middleeast/ap-ml-israel-iran.html?ref=global-home&gwh=F063FB7C4D2706F602B86FEC51440409

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North America

 

No negotiations with Qaida to free American: US government

 May 9, 2012

The White House has out rightly refused to negotiate with al-Qaida for the release of its citizen, who was kidnapped by the terrorist outfit in Pakistan last year. In a video message, 70-year-old aid expert Warren Weinstein had urged President Barack Obama to save his life. "We remain greatly concerned for Weinstein's safety and his well-being ," White House press secretary Jay Carney said, "We condemn his kidnapping.

The US government will continue making every effort to see Weinstein released safely, but we cannot and will not negotiate with al-Qaida ." Meanwhile, the state department too refused to make concessions to terrorists. "As you know, we don't make concessions to terrorists," state department spokesman, Mark Toner, said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/No-negotiations-with-Qaida-to-free-American-US-government/articleshow/13059728.cms

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All's not well? US envoy to Pakistan quits mid term

May 9, 2012

WASHINGTON: The US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, has told his staff that he is leaving Islamabad , after serving just over 18 months in a country that has proved to be one of Washington's most challenging and difficult partners in the world.

Munter, a career diplomat , reportedly did not see eye-to-eye with Washington, where the Obama administration has taken a tough line on a once-storied ally.

Some media reports suggested that Munter "simply wasn't a good fit with the Pakistani government - and perhaps not with the Obama administration as well" .

But Pakistani commentators said among Obama administration officials, Munter was perhaps the most inclined to accommodate Pakistani concerns with regards to hot button issues like drone attacks and the Pakistani demand for a US apology over the Salala attack.

During his 18+ months in Islamabad, Munter navigated some treacherous diplomatic terrain, including the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden, punitive drone attacks, and a stand-off over Nato supply route following the Salala attack in which American forces decimated 26 Pakistani soldiers. The incidents lacerated US-Pakistan ties already under strain over attacks originating from Pakistan on interests of the US and its allies in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Alls-not-well-US-envoy-to-Pakistan-quits-mid-term/articleshow/13059749.cms

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US hit foils an ‘updated’ underpants bomb plot

8 May 2012

THE MASTERMIND of a new underpants bomb plot was killed during a CIA drone attack in Yemen on Sunday, US counterterrorism officials said.

Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al- Quso, one of America’s Most Wanted terrorists, wanted to bring down a US- bound jetliner with a new and improved “ undetectable” version of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit in Christmas 2009.

The explosion was to be carried out, reports suggest, to mark the one year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. But the Yemenbased terrorist was killed by a missile fired by an unmanned CIA drone as he stepped out of a vehicle in a remote valley in the south of Yemen.

Two counterterrorism officials told the New York Daily News they believed 37- year- old al- Quso, who had a $ 5million bounty on his head, was the key militant behind the plans. Al- Quso was indicted in the US for his role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the harbour of Aden, Yemen, in which 17 American sailors were killed and 39 injured. He was later believed to have replaced Anwar al- Awlaki as the al- Qaeda leader on the Arabian Peninsula’s head of external operations when the latter was killed in a US airstrike in 2011.

Full report at: Mail Today

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US disappointed with China over Al-Jazeera journalist's expulsion

May 09 2012

Washington : The US has expressed its disappointment over expulsion of Al-Jazeera's correspondent Melissa Chan from China, as a result of which the Qatar-based news channel closed its English bureau in Beijing.

"We have been closely following Melissa Chan's case, and I would just say that we're disappointed in how the Chinese government decided not to renew her accreditation," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

"To our knowledge, she operated and reported in accordance with Chinese law, including regulations that permit foreign journalists to operate freely in China," Toner said.

Responding to a question, Toner said he believes that the US has raised the issue with the Chinese authorities.

Chan, a US citizen who has been working in China since 2007, had to leave China following the denial of visa to her.

She has filed nearly 400 reports during her five years in the country, the channel said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-disappointed-with-china-over-aljazeera-journalists-expulsion/947223/

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Al-Qaeda bomb maker becomes America's worst nightmare

 May 9, 2012

Running a clandestine bomb factory in remote area in Yemen, a nondescript Saudi has emerged as the most potent threat to the US, making three bids in past three years to spread mayhem in the world's most powerful nation.

His explosive devices are becoming increasingly sophisticated and hard-to-detect for Americans counter-intelligence forces who have now marked him as the nation's most wanted.

Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri has emerged as CIA's worst nightmare since the slaying of terror chief Osama bin Laden and has now become a major focus of America's anti-terrorism efforts, CNN reported quoting US intelligence officials.

Asiri, 30, who hails from middle class Saudi family, US intelligence agency say is the top bombmaker for al-Qaeda's Yemeni branch whom they now call 'Evil Genius'.

US officials have said Asiri built the bomb in the attempts to bring down a commercial flight near Detroit and two cargo planes headed for the US. His latest bomb, part of yesterday's foiled plot, appear to be the most sophisticated and a modification of his underwear bomb, which caused ripples in American law enforcement agencies.

Full report at:

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report_al-qaeda-bombmaker-becomes-america-s-worst-nightmare_1686625

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Europe

 

Islamic school in UK apologizes for anti-Jewish teachings on website

May 9, 2012

A Muslim Sunday school has apologized for anti-Jewish teachings that appeared in its website, under investigation as a possible hate crime by York Region police.

The East End Madrassah, a weekend religious program run by a Thornhill mosque using space rented in a Scarborough high school, issued a press release Tuesday to “unreservedly apologize to the Jewish community for the unintentional offence that the item has caused.”

“Our curriculum is not intended to promote hatred towards any individual or group of people,” the statement said; “rather the children are taught to respect and value other faiths, beliefs and to uphold Canada’s basic values of decency and tolerance.”

Jewish groups had expressed shock at curriculum on the Madrassah’s website that called ancient Jews “treacherous” and “crafty” and accused them of “conspiring to kill the Prophet Muhammad.”

“We were shocked such material was being disseminated on the property of the Toronto District School Board, which we know values tolerance and multiculturalism,” said David Spiro, Greater Toronto co-chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). The Madrassah conceded the sections cited by the Jewish groups “should never have been a part of our curriculum.”

“Our team of scholars has already undertaken to review all texts and material being used in the curriculum to ensure that our teachings are conveying the right message.”

Full report at:

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1175040--islamic-school-apologizes-for-anti-jewish-teachings

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/sentenced-to-death-in-iran-for-becoming-a-christian-and-refusing-to-revert-to-islam/d/7276

 

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